I said farewell to a dear friend last week, Colin Ashdown, who I’ve served  alongside for 39 years. I hardly knew him when came to my ordination in Essex as a pastor way back in 1974; little did I know he would turn out to be such a BEST man. It was obvious by the huge turnout at his funeral he was a BEST man (top man!) to loads of others as well

Tributes were paid to him as a FAMILY man by his niece Kirsty and big brother Bill. They thought the world of him! The way he died on Sunday 10th February impacted them deeply. Through out the day as he lay on his bed he kept looking at his watch, then told them if anything happened to him he did not want resuscitation, he didn’t fear dying. In the evening, after watching Songs of Praise, and then a few minutes of a programme on space exploration, he again looked at his watch, then said, ‘I’m ready, take me Lord’, closed his eyes and went to sleep ‘in the Lord’. Awesome.

A tribute to him as a BOYS BRIGADE leader of influence was paid by Patrick Allen who shared most movingly of Colin’s influence on his life as he grew up in a single parent family on a local estate. Colin got him work experience with the GPO where he worked ( now B.T.) and Patrick is now managing director of a successful electrical company. Over 30 men then came forward to join in singing the Boys Brigade hymn ‘We have an anchor that stills the waves...’ Men singing together…awesome!

A tribute to him as a MENTOR was then just about given by Leslie Davis, who broke down several times when telling how Colin had led him to Christ, taught him how to develop his relationship with Jesus, was his best man at his wedding and godparent to his children and always there for him. Seeing men cry is AWESOME!

A tribute to him as a CHURCH leader was given by Steve Henry, and insights gleaned into Colin’s focus of keeping the church anchored to the rock and outward looking. His servant heart made him step into the gap many times, leading the youth work once again (when in his 50’s) and then taking on the job of church treasurer  (which he hated, but was actually rather good at!)

A group of young people then got up and spoke of him as CARING Man, telling of how he’d take them out strawberry picking, visiting castles, and exploring London. They found his knowledge of history fascinating. They also mentioned him teaching them to drive and we were staggered to see over 30 other people put there hands up to say he also taught them (and he didn’t like driving!)

My tribute summed it all up, describing him as a man of FAITH; I knew just how much it meant to him when he was 20 years old living on an inner London council estate, discovering that Jesus loved and believed in him so much that he died on the cross for him. The man in sandals became the central focus of his life and in turn made Colin the BEST

  • B eliving in others because Christ believed in him
  • E ncouraging others to step out of their comfort zones as Christ had encouraged him
  • S haring deeply with others the secret truths from God’s word , the Bible, that Christ shared with him morning by morning as Colin spent time reading a chapter from the Bible
  • T rusting others with responsibility in the same way Jesus took a risk with trusting Colin.

Colin, indeed a BEST man, and for me and many others a BEST friend. And because of Jesus we know our friendship is not over, we will indeed meet again when the trumpet sounds Reveille for us like it did for Colin on 10th February, ‘Get Up! Time to Get Up! Wake up oh Sleeper!’

3 thoughts on “A BEST Man

  1. Letter received from Colin’s brother – Bill:

    Dear Les,
    What on earth can we say, but just a huge thank you for making Colin’s funeral, which was such a sad emotional occasion, an amazing experience for us as a family.

    We learnt do many things about Colin which, if we are honest, we knew a little, but certainly not to the extent in which he was involved. We were so proud and he must have gained so much from it.

    The service was so carefully thought out and we are grateful to everyone who contributed, in the care and love they all put in.

    Our friends who attended found the whole service a very moving and humbling experience. It was nothing like we or them had ever experienced before. The people of your congregation are so genuine and sincere.

    Can you please pass our thanks to everyone who played a part in the organisation of it, and a special thanks to the ladies who did the catering?

    Thank you also for the collection (£750) which you gave us and has now been sent to the British Lung Foundation. Hopefully more research will be done on Sarcoidosis, which as you know is quite rare and unfortunately not too much is really known about the disease.

    God bless you all,

    Bill Ashdown

  2. Debbie Linton-Gordon says:

    Dear Bill,
    Thank you for the insight you gave about Colin as a family man. I loved your stories about the half penny and Colin selling the beer bottles!! It was great to meet you and Kirsty. It would be good to see you again. Maybe you can take up Colin’s seat? Why not?
    with prayerful love
    Debbie and Steve Gordon

  3. Dagfinn Staerk says:

    It was so sad to hear that Colin had died. He was such a good man, a brave man, a real “viking” for Christ. God bless his memory and his family.

    Dagfinn Staerk
    Halden, Norway

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